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Give thanks

Come together with Thanksgiving in our hearts


Throughout my journey this year the most common question I have heard is, "How do you like living in Kentucky?"

Liz Encinia

The truth is, I love living in a place where I can see the four seasons. Fall is my favorite time of the year and I enjoy seeing the leaves turn. I also enjoy the anticipation of fall. As soon as I see those fall decorations come out at Hobby Lobby, I know something good is about to happen. The holidays are coming and with them are family, fellowship, church festivities and football.

I spent many years watching my brother play football. I could see the anticipation of the team gearing up for that first kickoff. Some teams huddle together chanting and encouraging one another for the task ahead, while others bend a knee in prayer. These guys prepare all season for this moment — the chance to put a "W" in their win column.

As Christ-followers, we have the ultimate "W" in the win column. Jesus Christ defeated death and has won the victory. Can you imagine the early church days after Jesus ascended into heaven? Now I know what you are thinking — why am I talking about the resurrection and ascension when we are in November? Because it's important to remember why we give thanks.

The Gospel-writer Luke gives us a glimpse into the lives of the early believers in chapter two of Acts. From the moment of Pentecost, we find the church committing to the Lord on a whole new level.

The early church spent their days saturating themselves with the apostles' teaching, engaging one another in fellowship, breaking bread and praying together (2:42). This was not a one-time occurrence; it became a lifestyle. This lifestyle championed people coming together in worship, sharing their table with grateful hearts, but most of all celebrating and praising God for His favor in their lives (2:46-47).

How I would love to be at that table. Can you imagine the conversation about Jesus? Were they huddled together chanting and encouraging one another as if they were ready to go out into battle? It appears that the early church lived in a state of thanksgiving.

When we gather around the thanksgiving table, will we come together with thanksgiving in our hearts? Will we pass the bread and enter His courts with praise? Jesus reminds us in Matthew (18:20) that where two or more are gathered, He is there with us. There is no exception for the Thanksgiving table. When we gather around that table, we enter His presence. We have an invited guest who is the King of kings and Lord of lords. His name is Immanuel. He is King Jesus. He is the reason why we give thanks!

This Thanksgiving, may our table be grace-drenched with love for Christ and our conversations intent on telling about the full majesty of Jesus. May our praises fill the room louder than any other activity on this day. May we encourage one another to commit ourselves to be Christ-followers saturated with the Word of God, devoted to see His Kingdom come, and with the power of the Spirit, intent on joining Him in making disciples among all nations. May we leave the table full of King Jesus and ready to proclaim His glory.

Liz Encinia is executive director-treasurer of Kentucky's Woman's Missionary Union.

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